The United Nation’s 2014 State of Food Insecurity in the World-SOFI 2014 report has declared Malawi an achiever of the Millennium Development Goals-MDG on hunger, which is to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
The report, which is published annually by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization-FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development-IFAD and the World Food Programme -WFP, attributes Malawi’s success to a strong and persistent commitment by Lilongwe to boost maize production.
The report released Tuesday, September 16, 2014 in Rome is titled, ‘World hunger falls, but 805 million still chronically undernourished’ and will be discussed by governments, civil society, and private sector representatives at the 13-18 October meeting of the Committee on World Food Security, at FAO headquarters in Rome.
However, the report has noted Malawi’s challenge on nutrition, stating, 50 percent of children under five are stunted and 12.8 percent are underweight.
Reads part of the report; “Malawi has reached the MDG hunger target, thanks to a strong and persistent commitment to boost maize production. However, malnutrition remains a challenge – 50 percent of children under five are stunted and 12.8 percent are underweight.”
On a positive stance, the UN has noted measures Lilongwe have put in place to tackle malnutrition.
“To address the issue, the government is promoting community-based nutrition interventions to diversify production to include legumes, milk, fisheries and aquaculture, for healthier diets, and to improve incomes at the household level,” the UN observes in the SOFI 2014 report.
And in their foreword to the report, heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP, José Graziano da Silva, Kanayo F. Nwanze and Ertharin Cousin, wrote;
“This is proof that we can win the war against hunger and should inspire countries to move forward, with the assistance of the international community as needed.”
Though not indicated in the summary of the SOFI report, the UN commendation corroborates this year’s figures of people expected to face hunger in Malawi.
Statistics from the 2014 Malawi Vulnerable Assessment Committee-MVAC on national food security have project that only 640, 009 people in the country will not be able to meet their food requirements during the 2014/15 consumption period.
The figure is an improvement from the previous consumption year. During that year a total number of affected people as at June 2013 was 1, 461, 940 and by November the same year, the number of affected people had risen to 1, 855, 183, representing a 27 percent increase.
And in promoting food self- sufficiency in the country, government has in the 2014/2015 fiscal budget allocated MK50.8 billion for the Farm Input Subsidy Program-FISP targeting an estimated 1.5 million beneficiaries.